Fleas and ticks pose problems for pets

Fleas and ticks pose problems for pets

(NewsUSA) - It happens every summer -- your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, whether he is playing, hiking or camping, only to end up with swollen ticks on his ears or belly hours later. But parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are not just a summer menace. They can infect pets at any time.
Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), Banfield Pet Hospital's (www.banfield.net) internal research team, recently reviewed more than 2.2 million health records obtained from dog and cat visits in 2009. Fleas are the most common parasite in kittens under six months, middle-aged dogs and senior dogs and cats. Their research also shows that May is the peak season for ticks, and October is the peak season for fleas, making parasites an ongoing concern for pet owners.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, is the most commonly reported vector-transmitted disease. And research suggests that dogs are twice as likely to develop Lyme disease as humans living in the same area.
Parasites are more than annoyances -- they spread disease, not only to your pets, but to other members of your family as well. Fleas and ticks "are responsible for potentially severe allergic reactions, tapeworm infections and can cause severe anemia and death in young, sick or debilitated pets," explained Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield.
Preventing fleas and ticks is a critical part of a pet's health care, but pet owners should speak to their veterinarian before attempting treatments.
"Flea and tick preventive care products, like powders, sprays and spot-on treatments, offer varying degrees of efficacy and safety. Additionally, the huge number of products available can make selecting the proper preventive care product overwhelming to Pet owners," said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield.
Getting flea and tick products directly from your veterinarian helps ensure pet safety, as veterinarians instruct pet owners in proper dosage and application. Pet owners should also ask veterinarians about flea and tick products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as FirstShield.
"At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice -- that includes everything from routine vaccines and twice-annual comprehensive physical examinations to recommending the safest and most effective flea and tick preventive product that is right for the pet and their family," said Johnson.
For more information, visit www.banfield.net.